Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Telstra on "Upward Glide Path" Exiting 2008, But Calling Volume Slows

Noting that it continues to outperform domestic and global peers in key products and segments, Telstra reported a strong first half result with free cash flow growing by 44% to $1.9 billion.

Telstra's Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Sol Trujillo, said: "We are on an upward glide path to hit our key targets for 2010 and beyond for free cash flow, margins, returns and top line growth. Telstra is seeing world class growth in core businesses such as wireless services, broadband, IP business services, advertising and media services, despite Australia facing the most volatile and challenging economic conditions for decades. The growth more than offsets the 5.1% decline in PSTN revenue. The decline was skewed to the wholesale business with retail PSTN revenues falling only 1.8%."

However, the company said its fiscal 2009 results are being affected by reduced calling volumes, as people manage their usage down more than expected in the deteriorating macro environment. Telstra expects revenue growth in the range of 3-4% this year and EBITDA growth in the range of 5-6% (previously 6-7%) and EBIT growth in the range of 3-5% (previously 6-8%).

Other key financial results include:

  • Sales revenue grew 3.2% to $12,644 million, while total revenue grew 2.7% to $12,710 million.

  • Reported EBITDA rose 3.1% to $5,334 million. Reported EBIT fell 1.3% to $3,079 million, in line with expectations.

  • Retail business units grew revenue 4.1% or 5.1% excluding handset sales.

  • Mobile services revenue grew 12.4%, with 284,000 postpaid SIOs added. Total mobile ARPU grew almost 10% to $53. At the end of December, the wireless broadband SIO base reached 828k, which is close to 50% of the total market.

  • Retail broadband revenue grew 31.3%, with fixed broadband SIO growth three times our nearest competitor.

  • IP Access data revenue grew 28%.

  • Foxtel revenues grew 13%.

  • Sensis grew sales revenue 8.4%.

  • Full time employment levels were reduced by 1,300, bringing the total reduction to more than 10,000 since 2005.

  • Retail broadband revenue in the half was $1,204 million, up 31.3% year-on-year. The number of customers on high-speed broadband plans (20Mbps or more) more than doubled to 200,000 helping ARPU increase 6.1%.

  • IP and data revenue growth accelerated to 10.7%, driven by a 28.2% increase in IP access revenue to $323 million.